Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Reclining, or Rudge cranks

I just got back from Perkins where I got an asinine breakfast including fried chicken on biscuits with biscuit gravy. No slacking - it also came with two strips of bacon. I couldn't drink my coffee. I'm not at all picky or 'elitist' - it was actually just that bad. Now I'm taking a break from all that to sit on the recliner couch while my mom reads, and my dad stays busy with something for a minute before turning on the end of Jeopardy.

I'm trying to make a decision about whether to keep a blanket on my legs, or go try to put some Rudge cranks on my bare Panasonic frame that I took on my tour last June. I wish I kept up with the 7:21pm project during that tour. I don't think I did. Did I write shit in that little notebook I bought in Quebec? I actually think I did. I'll look into this. In any case, here's more about Rudge cranks and Panasonic frames.

Possible accuracy: Back in the day - before all English 3 speeds were getting made in the Raleigh factory - 3 speeds often had ornate designs in the chainrings. Phillips and J.C. Higgins had their names carved in there. Rudge had a cut out hand, their logo, held palm out. Like "stop." At one point, I bought a set of these cranks off eBay. They're all pitted and rusty, but I got 'em. They're cottered cranks, so I haven't bothered to use them for anything. Aside from the cool hand design, cottered cranks are a considerable downgrade from sealed bottom brackets and square taper. They're way more of a pain to deal with, and you really kinda need a cotter pin press, which nobody has. Except me. I have a cotter pin press because I've nerded out on a lot of 3 speeds. I got mine from BikeSmithDesign in Minnesota. A guy in a basement. Mark. I have never been unable to install or remove a cotter pin since. It's great.

In my spread-out mass of random bicycle stuff, I also have the frame and fork of a Panasonic bicycle that I set up for my tour last June. I rode it from Philly to Val D'or Quebec. It's chromo-4130 double butted. It's great quality, but not in-your-face at all. This frame, as you would expect, has a standard English threaded bottom bracket shell.

Some years ago, I followed directions on Sheldon Brown's website to replace the cottered spindle in the bottom bracket of a Raleigh Twenty with a square tapered one. Now I'm thinking about doing the reverse. I'm considering using a cottered spindle with English threaded cups and installing my Rudge cranks on the Panasonic frame. Completely odd-ball, but that kind of thing appeals to me. It's all just sitting around anyway.

It's also noteworthy that I have a hand built set of 700c 3 speed wheels with a new Sturmey Archer SRF3 hub, and Salsa Delgado rims. I also have a really old Strumey Archer quadrant shifter, alloy northroad handlebars, and probably everything else right down to brand new cotter pins and Sturmey shifter cable. It's been running through my mind for a few days now. If it comes together, it'll be a great goofy bicycle. An elite 3 speed machine, showing respect to the old and the new. The tires shall be 37mm wide - and a radical goofy set of these do I have.

Clearly, I'm more interested in day dreaming about un-marketable yet awesome bicycles than I am in building marketable and smart ones. But I have the parts for both, and I plan to be putting them all together.... soon.... you know.

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